The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is deeply concerned about violence perpetrated against journalists covering recent demonstrations in Guinea and urge state security forces to take extra measures to prevent further attacks on the media.
In the latest incident, which occurred on November 14, 2019, in Conakry, two journalists Alhassane Fofana and Mamadou Djiwo Bah, were injured in confrontations with security forces.
Alhassane Fofana, who works for the online news site MosaiqueGuine.com, was assaulted by a gendarme after he fell while trying to escape the suffocating fumes from tear gas thrown by security forces. The gendarme slapped Fofana and stabbed his thigh. He also seized the journalist’s phone, apparently to prevent the publication of images of their brutal crackdown on demonstrators opposing President Alpha Conde’s third term bid through a proposed constitutional reform.
During the same demonstration, Mamadou Djiwo Bah, a reporter for the online media outlet, LoupeGuinee.com, fell unconscious after tear gas was thrown in his direction. The demonstrators who were trying to flee the tear gas trampled on the journalist, leaving him with severe injuries.
These acts of violence against journalists doing their legitimate work of covering public demonstrations are clearly in breach of press freedom rights.
The MFWA calls for the immediate cessation of the violent dispelling of pro-democracy protests and the resultant attacks on journalists. The continuous attack of protesters and covering journalists is an abuse of their human rights. In controlling crowds and violent protests, we urge state security agents to be always guided by the human rights principles of necessity and proportionality.